I distinctly remember my first opportunity to vote. I had followed my parents to the voting booth for years, now it was my turn. The polling “station” was the driveway of a neighbor. The booth was black with a gray curtain and you pulled down little manual levers. If you voted in one category, you could not pull down another lever in that category (I played around with the machine as well as actually voting). Once you were finished, you turned a chrome switch, a bell went off, and the curtain opened. It seemed like a contraption unique unto itself.
Today, I went to vote and my latest polling station was inside a fire station (they pulled the fire trucks out for the election). I have also voted in elementary schools, gymnasiums, and courthouses over the years. The voting booth itself was much more high tech. You touched a screen and an “X” appeared. No bells. The curtain didn’t open by itself when I finished. Ah, for the old days.
On a more serious note, if there is one aspect of voting today that really does make me feel uncomfortable, and I readily admit I am a part of this, it is the number of folks who turn out to vote against someone (or some party) versus voting for someone or some party. Oftentimes, we see ourselves doing “damage control” when we vote rather than being inspired by a candidate or a party. I feel there is something inherently wrong with our system when voting against someone or some party is our primary motivation. Yet, it is rare that I hear people talking positively these days about any politician or party. More often we are talking about how much we don’t like someone or someones and want them to lose.
The only way we can change this is to dig in and find those candidates out there that we do like. If they are in office, we should support them. If they are not, we should campaign for them. And hopefully we will like them for something they stand for more than that they are opposed to someone or some party we don’t like. We need to elect leaders we believe in if we are ever to move forward as a nation.
What will the outcome of the election be? Tune to your favorite station or surf to your favorite website and pundits galore and far more qualified than I will let you know But as we move forward, whatever the outcome, let us all encourage those politicians who have a program that will bring us to a better place.
All the best and I hope you get out and vote if you haven’t already.